Stingray is proud to promote emerging artists through our monthly Rising Stars program. We are thrilled to introduce you to Yuna, our latest Rising Star for July!
Born in Kedah, Malaysia and raised primarily in Kuala Lumpur, Yuna splits her time between Malaysia and Los Angeles where she recorded her upcoming album, Rouge (release date: 7/12). “I’m a Muslim singer-songwriter, but I never saw myself as that,” she explains, “That label became more obvious to me as I moved to LA. It was really cool that everyone I met supported the fact that I do my own thing and don’t sacrifice my identity for the music.” Yuna describes her new album, noting that “the whole album is about how I am with myself: I’m comfortable with my relationship, with my focus on my career. It’s the color of becoming this woman I am.”
Yuna began writing songs and teaching herself to play guitar at age 14. She recorded her debut album in 2008, earning her five Malaysian Music Award nominations. Her U.S. debut EP, Decorate, featured production by Grammy-award winning producer Pharrell Williams.
Yuna's upcoming release Rouge follows 2016’s critically acclaimed Chapters, which features collaborations with Usher, Jhené Aiko and DJ Premier. Billboard included the album in their Critics’ Picks for Best R&B Albums, and the single “Crush” featuring Usher peaked at #3 on Billboard’s Adult R&B Chart.
What is your earliest artistic memory?
I was probably four years old taking part in a pre-school concert dancing and singing. I was a sunflower.
What do both pop and R&B convey like no other music genre?
Pop is the best way to get people to remember your music, R&B adds the soul and groove that’s kind of like magic, you can’t explain it!
What is your best and/or funniest memory on stage?
Forgetting lyrics!! Sometimes I lose my train of thought because a lot of times when I’m performing it’s muscle memory and autopilot mode from rehearsals- but when I lose the flow of thoughts I just start laughing on stage and I’ll get back into it! I feel like those things are great because they show that you’re only human, not a robot.
What is your most favorite song of all time?
Michael Jackson’s Bad.
What is your most favorite album of all time?
Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
What song do you love performing the most on stage and why?
Now it’s Blank Marquee! I’ve only performed that song once but it’s so much fun!
If you didn’t become a musician what would you be doing right now?
I graduated law school but I knew I wasn’t going to be a lawyer. Maybe I’d go back to school and learn graphic design or fashion design.
Which musician(s) would you like to collaborate with next?
I’ve been following Rosalia’s musical journey and I love her! Her whole musical style is so fresh, I would love to collaborate with her and see what the Malay in me and the Spanish in her can come up with!
What is one thing that your fans don’t know about you (a fun fact)?
I was a state professional bowler from 16 to 21 years old.
What’s your motto advice you live by?
Never make the same mistake twice! Live to make mistakes but also learn from them.
What’s coming up for you in the next weeks and months?
My new album Rouge is coming out soon and I’m going into rehearsals prepping for tour. It’s going to be hectic but I’m really excited!
And many more.
And watch her music videos on Stingray Vibe.